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Accelerators, incubators and startup studios in Turin

Accelerators, incubators and startup studios: in the startup ecosystem, these terms are often used interchangeably, creating a great deal of confusion for many.
Acceleratori, incubatori e startup studio a Torino

In this exploration, we will reveal the distinct characteristics of these organizations, enabling you to make an informed decision about which one is best to partner with.
The accelerators help existing startups grow rapidly, incubators nurture early-stage startups, and startup studios generate and incubate their own startup ideas. Each is useful at a different stage of the startup life cycle and offers different levels of support and resources. The accelerators help existing startups grow rapidly, the Incubators nurture early-stage startups and the startup studio generate and incubate their own startup ideas. Each is useful at a different stage of the startup life cycle and offers different levels of support and resources.
To bring clarity to this intricate landscape, we got help from the schematizzazione conducted by Hexa, a startup studio based in Paris. We then shed light on the unique roles each of the entities plays in nurturing and promoting early-stage businesses. 

Accelerator

  • Objective: to rapidly grow and scale existing startups.They typically work with startups that already have a product or service in the market and help them refine their business models, acquire customers, and secure additional investment.
  • Duration: a few months, during which startups receive intensive mentoring and support.
  • Financing: often provide seed funding in exchange for equity (ownership) in the startup.

A startup accelerator is a intensive program that aims to help startups grow rapidly. These programs often last for a limited period of time, usually three to six months, and offer mentorship, training, resources and funding to help startups develop rapidly.

Accelerators focus on more mature startups that already have a defined business model and customer base. This type of organization does not invest directly in startups: it addresses with the founders growth-related challenges such as finding human resources, investors, or scaling the project.

Incubator

  • Objective: incubators help startups develop their ideas, build prototypes and refine their strategies before seeking significant investment.
  • Duration: incubators' programmes can be long-term, often over several years, depending on the needs of the startup.
  • Financing: although some incubators offer funding, their main focus is on providing resources such as office space, mentoring and networking opportunities.

The accelerators help existing startups grow rapidly, incubators nurture early-stage startups, and startup studios generate and incubate their own startup ideas. Each is useful at a different stage of the startup life cycle and offers different levels of support and resources. Incubators focus on the very early stages of startup development by offering guidance and a framework for turning fantastic ideas into viable business prospects.
Often some startups do not have a concrete business model, product or paying customers. Incubators step in with mentoring, recommendations, tools and networking support, helping startups design the initial blueprint for their venture.
While providing office space, incubators do not perform the work, but provide entrepreneurs with the tools to do it themselves.

Unlike accelerators, the incubators often do not have a set duration, and startups may stay in them for a longer period of time, anche anni.
The incubator's goal is to provide an environment conducive to the growth of startups, helping them face initial challenges and develop sustainably over time.

Startup studio

  • Objectivestartup studios, also known as venture builders or company builders, create and launch multiple start-ups from scratch. They generate and incubate their own start-up ideas.
  • Structure: startup studios have in-house teams of entrepreneurs, designers and developers working on multiple startup projects simultaneously.
  • Financing: typically provide funding and initial resources to get their ideas off the ground.

Unlike the traditional incubator that provides support and resources to individual startups, a startup studio works on multiple projects simultaneously, managing the entire life cycle of the new businesses it creates.

Often, within a startup studio there is a team of experts which includes designers, developers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. These professionals work together to identify market opportunities, develop startup concepts, create prototypes, attract funding, and support startups. If an idea is validated the execution thanks to the in-house team.
At a later stage, the reins of the project are handed over to an external CEO who is responsible for the growth of the startup by holding a share in its capital.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a startup studio is the opportunity to exploit the synergies between different startups that creates. It could have a shared infrastructure, human resources, or technical capabilities that can be used by all the startups in its portfolio. This approach can increase efficiency and reduce costs for the startups that are part of it.

Accelerator or incubator? What does your idea need?

Embarking on the journey to turn a business idea into reality is an exhilarating but complex undertaking, whether in Turin, Italy, or elsewhere.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, one of the crucial decisions you will have to make is to scegliere il percorso giusto per le fasi iniziali della tua impresa: opt for the nurturing environment of an incubator or the rapid growth catalyst of an accelerator?

Each path presents unique opportunities and challenges, and the choice depends on the specific needs and stage of development your business idea is in.
Thanks to our mapping of the local innovation ecosystem and the list compiled in early 2023 by the Club degli Investitori, we offer you a List of realities active in Turin to help you in the growth of your startup.

Incubators, Accelerators and Startup Studio active in Piedmont

I3P

I3P (Innovation, Industry, and Impact) is an incubator and innovation hub in Turin. It is associated with the Politecnico di Torino and provides support and resources to startups and entrepreneurs, helping them develop their ideas and turn them into successful businesses.

ESA Business Incubation Centre Turin

The programme BIC dell’ESA provides selected startups with financial support, technical expertise and business development assistance to help them bring space-related innovations to market. These innovations can cover a variety of areas, including telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation and other space technologies. 

2i3T – Incubatore d’Imprese dell’Università di Torino

2i3T stands for "International Institute for Innovation, Industrial Economics and Technology Transfer" and is associated with the Polytechnic University of Turin.The goal of 2i3T is research, innovation and technology transfer in the fields of industrial economics and engineering. It has started 113 new enterprises since 2007.

Synesthesia

Synesthesia believes in open innovation, synergistic collaboration with start-ups and positive values of inclusion. At Synesthesia we create projects with a strong creative component and with the utmost attention to quality. At the heart of this is a "digital nursery" where an idea can grow and quickly become a new business reality.

Blue Factory

The main objective of Blue Factory is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship by providing resources, mentoring and networking opportunities. ESCP Business School, with its presence in Europe, collaborates with various stakeholders to support the growth and development of startups and enterprises.

Build It Up

Build It Up supports startups with a team composed of students ready to support young entrepreneurs in their business development. It organizes business games and develops partnerships with prestigious strategic consulting firms to connect students and the business world.

UniCredit Start Lab

UniCredit Start Lab is an initiative and platform launched by UniCredit, one of the largest banking groups in Europe. Since 2014, it has supported innovation and entrepreneurship by providing resources, mentorship and networking opportunities to startups and early-stage companies.
The platform aims to identify and nurture promising startups in various sectors, including fintech and technology. UniCredit Start Lab offers incubation and acceleration programs, workshops and events to help startups develop their business ideas, access funding and connect with mentors and industry experts.

Feat. Ventures

In Feat. Ventures you work with ambitious entrepreneurs on digital projects. It is a place where you can meet, exchange ideas, and give birth to, create and build innovative projects.

SocialFare | Centro per l’Innovazione Sociale

SocialFare is involved in a variety of activities, including supporting social enterprises, offering incubation and acceleration programs, and promoting collaboration between individuals and entities working for social innovation. The center often collaborates with partners from different sectors to create a supportive ecosystem for social entrepreneurs and innovators.

Impact Deal

Impact Deal is a Europe-wide accelerator program for social and environmental impact businesses. The project is implemented in collaboration with TOP-IX, ISI Foundation, Impact Hub and The Data Appeal Company and is developed in OGR Tech. It was created with the stated goal of stimulating, through the application of data science, the growth of entrepreneurial activities with social and environmental purposes.

xEDU

xEDU is Europe's leading business accelerator for EdTech startups dedicated to creating transformative learning solutions with a strong pedagogical impact. From product development to market entry and internationalization, xEdu offers extensive support including coaching and mentoring and networking.

ISC Lab

ISC Lab helps innovative companies and startups related to the world of plastics and rubber. Through support, accompanying paths and mentoring, it aims to create a network that gives value to the industry's entrepreneurial landscape.

Takeoff Accelerator

Takeoff Accelerator focuses on startups in Aerospace and Advanced Hardware. Located within one of the most active innovation hubs in Italy, the OGR of Turin, works with startups established in Italy, or wishing to open a legal entity in Italy.

Quickload

Quickload is an intensive six-month accelerator program for teams of game developers. It aims to take projects to the next level and supports startups through the expertise of game industry talent. Those who participate in the program have access to Investor Day, where startups present their companies to a select audience of investors, publishers and press.

iStarter

Accelerator consisting of 100 business angels called Equity Partners. iStarter operates through a network of experienced entrepreneurs and investors who provide mentorship, networking opportunities and funding to startups.

Techstars Transformative World Torino

The accelerator started operating in the Turin area in 2020 and expanded into Techstars Transformative World Torino for the 2024 and 2025 editions, supporting start-ups that have a positive impact on achieving the SDG goals.

Open Incet

Open Incet is the Open Innovation center of the city of Turin. A service center for local governments and cities, offering training, consulting and advisory programs on the topics of social innovation, new urban economies and public policy.

Environment Park

Environment Park is a technology and innovation park located in Turin. It focuses on promoting innovation and research in the field of environmental sustainability and green technologies. Environment Park provides a platform for companies, research institutions and startups working on solutions related to the environment and sustainable development. The park hosts companies and organizations working on renewable energy, waste management, environmental monitoring and other aspects of technology and sustainable development.

Royal Lab 1828

Royal Lab 1828 is a multi-sector and international innovation hub entirely dedicated to exploring the most relevant trends and strategies for the future of insurance and related services. It is a business unit of Reale Group, based in Turin, always on the lookout for new ideas.

Mamazen

Mamazen is a Startup Studio that aims to create successful startups needed by the market. The Startup Studio is based on a method that industrializes the process of creating startups while reducing risk. Mamazen is a venture startup builder, which builds startups with the logic of making the exit.

Djungle Studio

Djungle Studio is a startup builder ready to find new business ideas and launch new digital products or solutions.
A real startup industry! But also an engine that continuously validates business ideas, creates startups and repeats new business models with the goal of accelerating innovation.

Vento

Vento is a project funded by Exor Ventures. Founded in Turin in 2022, it aims to find and support the best founders through venture building and investment.

Dpixel

Dpixel is a corporate innovation platform. It has an incubation program that includes mentoring activities (business plan, perfect pitch, etc...), business opportunity meetings with network companies, and support services from a legal and tax perspective.

Bioindustry Park

Founded in 1998, its aim is to foster the birth and growth of innovative companies and to link the business world to research centres and universities. The Bioindustry Park focuses on the life sciences and biotechnology sectors. It serves as a hub for research, innovation and collaboration between companies, research institutes and startups in the biotechnology and life sciences sectors.

StarBoost Company Creator

StarBoost Company is an Accelerator that creates Innovation Ecosystems with Entrepreneurs, Advisors and early stage investors. All StarBoost Company Creator members share experience in the startup world and an interest in creating businesses through the StarBoost methodology.

Bio4Dreams

Bio4Dreams is a Business Nursery, a certified incubator of innovative very early stage startups in the Life Sciences, which helps people enhance the products of their scientific research. They value startups and their assets, giving them a solid foundation and facilitating their path to market.

Digital Magics

Digital Magics is an incubator and accelerator of innovative startups and scaleups. It is based in Milan but is also active in Turin. Digital Magics likes to build innovative companies together with talent and young entrepreneurs, identifying ideas and turning them into successful businesses.

Réseau Entreprende

Réseau Entrepresere Piemonte operates throughout the region offering free accompaniment to start-ups. It is the first entity to bring to Italy an international model that has been successful in countries where it has been present for decades. In the territory it presents itself as a reference player for the accompaniment of new businesses, also thanks to agreements and memoranda of understanding with public and private entities operating in the business creation sector.

At this point consider the current state of your business idea: does it need a warm and supportive environment to be "incubated and hatched" or is it ready for the fast track to the accelerator?

The decision is up to you, based on the needs of the moment and your aspirations. Remember that success often lies not only in the destination, but also in the path you choose to get there.

If your startup has not yet been mapped on Torino Tech Map. join the Turin innovation ecosystem.

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Cristina Interliggi
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